In the world of comics no one is really dead
, but in Hollywood things work differently. In the end there needs to be a climatic confrontation between hero and villain and one of them will die. Guess who.
There are several reasons for this. Comics have to come out on a regular basis so they can't afford to lose villains whereas even the fastest movie productions take years. Also the Villain's death leaves the story at a natural conclusion. In movies with more than one supervillain it's usually only the villain that acts as the Big Bad
that perishes with the lesser ones either being captured or reforming
. Usually a case of Self-Disposing Villain
when the hero has a strict no killing policy
This is a DEATH TROPE! Unmarked spoilers ahoy.
- In the Tim Burton Batman movies:
- The Joker himself is killed by having his leg pulled by a statue while trying to escape in the original.
- Penguin dies and is given a funeral by his penguin minions at the end of Batman Returns.
- In the Joel Schumacher movies
- In Batman Forever, Two-Face is killed, but the Riddler survives.
- In Batman & Robin, Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy both survive. Bane's fate is ambiguous (he's alive, but severely weakened when we last see him, and the building around him is collapsing).
- In the Christopher Nolan Batman (The Dark Knight Trilogy) Movies
- Batman Begins: Ra's Al Ghul is killed when Batman refuses to save him, letting him drop in front of a train. Secondary villain Scarecrow survives and cameos in the other two movies.
- The major villain dies, minor villain lives sub-clause is inverted in The Dark Knight when Batman captures The Joker alive but is unable to prevent Harvey Dent aka Two Face from falling to his death.
- Both Bane and Talia al Ghul are killed in the course of the final battle in The Dark Knight Rises. Catwoman joins the Fight against Bane and is seen with Bruce in a romantic relationship in the end.
- In the Iron Man films
- Iron Man 1: Obadiah Stane is killed when Tony gets Pepper to overload the Arc Reactor, blowing Tony aside and frying Stane in his much heavier suit.
- Iron Man 2: Tony and Rhodney combine thier strength to kill Vanko in the Crimson Dynamo/Titanium Man armour. Justin Hammer lives but is arrested with his reputation in tatters.
- Captain America: The First Avenger: Red Skull is seemingly killed when he tries to use the cosmic cube and gets disintegrated (or possibly teleported to another dimension) by it.
- In the original trilogy of Spider-Man films there's a lot of villain deaths.
- In Spider-Man, the Green Goblin is killed by his glider impaling him. This happened to him in the comic books as well though he came back from that.
- In Spider-Man 2, Doctor Octopus is killed by either drowning or the heat when he tears apart the base of the fusion reactor, sending the miniature sun (along with himself) into the river.
- In Spider-Man 3, The post Heel-Face Turn New Goblin is killed by Venom, and Eddie Brock/Venom dies when he tries to get back to the symbiote after Peter had thrown a Goblin Grenade at it. Sandman survives, however, and Peter is able to forgive him for killing Uncle Ben.
- In Ghost Rider, Blackheart is able to be killed (or given a Fate Worse Than Death) by Ghost Rider's Reaper's Stare after he absorbs the souls of San Venganza.
- In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer the Surfer sacrifices himself to stop Galactus. It's uncertain if that ended the planet-eater for good, but chances are that it stalled him.
- In Green Lantern, Hector Hammond and Parallax are dead by the end. Sinestro never even becomes a villain until the stinger.
- In Punisher: War Zone, Jigsaw dies. The villains of the other movies don't count as they are original characters.
- X-Men First Class: Sebastian Shaw is killed by Magneto forcing a coin through his brain. Shaw's minions join Magneto
- In the first Blade film, Deacon Frost dies. In Blade III, Dracula (AKA Drake) dies.
- In the Animated Doctor Strange film, Dormammu and Baron Mordo both die.
- In Ghost Rider Spirit Of Vengeance, Blackout dies.
Subversions, Aversions and Zigzags
- Lex Luthor survives all the Superman movies likely because Superman doesn't have as wide a rogue's gallery as other heroes.
- Magneto, the X-Men's Arch-Enemy survived all the films along with Mystique. The Villains of individual movies were killed however.
- Loki in both Thor and The Avengers lives though cast into space in the former and beaten senseless by The Hulk and captured in the latter.
- Blonsky aka The Abomination is spared by Betty stopping Hulk from strangling him to death in The Incredible Hulk. For someone with a reputation for destruction the Hulk causes surprisingly few deaths.
- Averted in The Amazing Spider-Man, where Curt Connors is arrested instead of killed, which leads to a post-credits Stinger in his jail cell.
- In Fantastic Four, Dr. Doom isn't killed; rather, he's frozen in place after his superheated metal body is quickly chilled. He returns in (and survives) the sequel.
- In Daredevil, Bullseye and Kingpin both survive, though in Bullseye's case, you don't know that unless you stayed for the in-credits stinger.
- In the Adam West Batman movie Joker Immunity is in full effect as it was the movie of the series and they needed to return.